Voters in the South-Western City School District approved Issue 7 by a wide margin Nov. 6.

With all 103 precincts reporting late Tuesday night, the proposed 1.86-mill bond issue passed with a vote of 26,289 in favor to 16, 653 against or 61 to 38 percent, according to unofficial final results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

The ballot measure will provide the local share of the cost of the second phase of the district’s Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project.

With the passage of the 38-year, $93.4 million bond issue, the district will move forward with plans to construct new buildings at Brookpark, Finland, Norton and Pleasant View middle schools and make renovations at Jackson Middle School and East Franklin Elementary School.

"We appreciate the support we've received from the community," district Superintendent Bill Wise said. "We're excited to get started on the next segment of our project."

The success of the first segment of the district’s OFCC project, which came in on time and under budget, helped paved the way for overwhelming success of this issue, Wise said.

"It was promises made, promises kept, and that gave people the confidence and trust to vote to provide the local funding for the next phase," said Larry Titus, who led the issue’s campaign committee with Camille Peterson.

"I can't wait to have bring our middle schools in line with the standards we set with the new elementary buildings," he said.

The total cost of the project will be about $193 million. The OFCC, the state agency that assists school districts with construction projects, will provide $60 million or about half of the project's core cost.

The bond issue will also fund asphalt and roofing repairs throughout the district, something the commission will not fund.

The district has described this bond issue as a "no new millage" measure because South-Western will continue to collect money at the same millage rate due to the retirement of existing bond debt at the end of this year.

Property owners will continue to pay about $70 in school property taxes per $100,000 of valuation.

"One of the biggest efforts we made in the campaign was to let people know they would not be paying any additional tax dollars to get this project completed," Peterson said. "I think once they understood that, it made it easy for residents to support the bond issue."

With the bond issue's passage, school officials are expecting to sell bonds in the spring of 2019 and hire an architect and construction manager before the end of the year, Wise said.

Work on the projects is expected to begin in 2020 and the new schools should open in the fall of 2022, he said.

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